Boomkat Product Review:
Following 2020's "Gold Record" comes "YTI⅃AƎЯ", a hushed set of hopeful, rousing songs for confusing times carried by Callahan's familiar gravelly tones. It's heartbreaking stuff and some of the best material Callahan's released in years - Smog fans don't sleep.
Bill Callahan teamed up with Bonnie "Prince" Billy and a ramshackle group of friends and associates to put together last year's quirky "Blind Date Party" - a set of covers made to pass the time and reflect on the past. "YTI⅃AƎЯ" is a completely different beast, an album made with sufficient distance from 2020's doom spiral that sounds like Callahan's attempt to go back to what he does best. With Jim White on drums, Matt Kinsey on guitar, Emmett Kelly on bass and Sarah Ann Phillips on piano, Callahan does what he does best, harnessing the latent power in his voice "to get out of this hypnagogic state..".
But it's the hushed touches - the kind of production elements you might only notice after a few listens - that make "YTI⅃AƎЯ" such a memorable album. Callahan explains that there are voices buried in the mix, and while his vocals are loud and center stage, listen close and you'll discover a choral vein, rooting it in American history. "I wanted multiple voices, not just mine," he says. "So there are 6 or 7 people singing on this record." This gives the album a unique signature and also a level of harmonic coherence, bringing Callahan's overarching theme - one of togetherness after a great catastrophe - into sharp, unavoidable focus.
Intended to be listened to in one sitting, YTI⅃AƎЯ is an album that's built around a pervasive mood, and its sound - from the reclining strums of opening track 'First Bird' to the organ-led psychedelia of 'Partition' and the cool, brassy 'Planets' - is hypnotic, alluring and completely absorbing. It feels like the most complete album Callahan has produced in years.